Sherlock Holmes novel, "Things that go bump in the Night,' installment is now posted. The Baker Street Adventures continue!
Things that go bump in the Night"
by John Pirillo
Inspector Bloodstone stood like a statue before the crime scene. His Bobbies were arrayed in a circle about the body, so as to arrest anyone's advance to inspect the fallen woman more closely. A necessary procedure to keep curious hands off the body, as well as thieving ones from removing what could be significant clues as the cause of death to the victim.
His blondish red hair blew lightly in the sea breeze coming off the Thames that early morning. The mists were gently rolling in off the waters, and slithering like curly snakes along the brick laden pavement and over slight barriers of wood and baling wire that were strewn along the dock. Several sailors were gathered about a dozen yards off, murmuring nervously and warily amongst themselves, arguing no doubt about the cause for the woman's death, whom they recognized as a night goddess by the garb she wore and the garish makeup.
"It's not right." A sailor told the one to his left. "I just partook of her well night a moon ago and she was as healthy and bucking as a broncho in one of those Buffalo Bill shows from America that tour London every other year."
"Aye. She was one fine lassy." A fat sailor told him. "She did right by me. Many a time."
He shook his head. "Never find one of that quality again."
"And at such a good price too, hey?" Came the returning voice of the man beside him.
He licked his lips. "Who would resort to violence like that. I've heard of the night goddess being beaten before, but never tortured. Never parts of her body removed like a butcher slicing up choice portions of meat from a pig or a cow."
A tallish Sailor stood watching silently amidst the sailors. He looked vaguely familiar to some eyeing him, but not watched for long. The spectacle before them was not their fellow wet baggers, as they called themselves, but the poor filly that lay sprawled on the pavement, her blood drained and missing body parts. Even the fine turn of her ankles was gone, sliced away as if skewered for a delicatessen's sandwich.
The tall sailor nodded as he listened to the Sailors talk. When they finally quite talking, he drifted closer to the Bobbies, who glanced over at him nervously, but something about him was intimidating so they said nothing, since he did nothing toward.
"When did you first discover her?" Bloodstone demanded of a wiry Sailor of dark, swarthy skin and bright blue eyes. He wore a white cap with a feather in it, indicating his seniority on his merchant ship, which was from the India Isles. The Indians favored the feathers as symbols of power and authority, even while at the same time bowing down to the demonic fury of their terrible water goddess, Lady Kali, empress of the depths and fury of Narada, the god of air and space.
The Sailor, whose name was Janda, licked at his lower lip. It was bruised from a young woman who had been biting it repeatedly as he partook of her personal delights after an especially long day at the dock, unloading baling wire and cotton fabrics of all colors of the rainbow that had been imported to London from the India Isles.
"I was on the forecastle of the Empress Kali." He gestures to the large merchant ship flying the flags of the India Isles behind him. I had taken the Dog Watch off to rest some and do some shopping for my girlfriend..." Gestures to the fallen woman. "We were to meet on the forenoon watch. The ship is quiet then and nothing unusual ever happens...."
The tall Sailor looks back at the other sailors who are laughing at Janda's words and shaking their heads as if a joke were being told.
"Nothing at all?" Bloodstone demands, a suspicious look on his craggy face. His lip mustache is dangling oddly to the right, which it often does when he feels someone is lying to him. A nervous gesture that can be easily read by someone familiar with him, but this sailor rode his ship straight into the harbor of lying without nary a thought as to the consequences of it.
"Not a thing." Janda replied with great assurance.
Bloodstone groans angrily, then eyes his Head Bobby. "Phillip, see to this man's needs. I would like to be speaking with him later on when he's more comfortable."
Janda smiles. He thinks he's going to be treated like royalty for his honesty, until Bobby Phillip steps forwards, pulls out handcuffs and locks his wrists within them.
"I'm arresting you for suspicion of murder. You have the right to remain silent. A Barrister will be appointed to help you with your miserable lies once we have you comfortably situated."
Bloodstone nods and Bobby Phillip marches Janda towards a waiting wagon whose blue lights are flashing, sending whirls of blue across the backs and faces of everyone near it.
Janda twists about. "But I did nothing to her! Nothing!"
Bloodstone growls. "Tell that to the police."
"But you are the police!" Janda protests in confusion.
Bloodstone turns away as Janda is forced into the back of the Police Wagon. "Bloody fool thinks I'm a blinking Toff of an idiot!"
He nods towards the waiting Bobbies.
The Tall Sailor looks around as if expecting someone, and as he does a tall man with very nicely trimmed chops and mustache shoulders through the crowd watching from the back. He has a medical bag in his right fist.
"Make way! Make way, I say!"
Doctor Watson stops before Bloodstone, trying to catch up on his breath.
"You need to exercise more, Doctor." Bloodstone advises.
"Oh, I get plenty of bloody exercise." Doctor Watson growls. "Just not at the hours a sane man would expect! Where's the body?"
Bloodstone turns and indicates with a nod of his head the fallen woman.
Watson gives Bloodstone an appraising look, then drops to a knee beside the woman. He pulls on a pair of surgical gloves and begins poking and prodding her body with his fingers, and sometimes takes a pair of tweezers, uncorks a vial and takes a sample and stoppers up the vial again.
Bloodstone begins to shiver violently.
"Something wrong, sir?" Bobby Phillips inquires.
Bloodstone shakes his head. "Just a damn cold is all."
Watson looks up. "Liar!"
Bloodstone gives Watson a look that could kill, but says nothing further.
Bobby Phillips realizes this is something he shouldn't step into and backs off. He heads to the Wagon, sees that the prisoner is restrained properly, bangs on the driver side and the driver nods, then starts up the Tesla motor. The motor makes a soft whining sound, then the Wagon moves slowly at first along the dock, until it reaches the narrow street abutting the wharf and picks up speed. It turns on a siren which sounds like a dog howling in pain, causes its blue lights to flicker off and on rapidly and vanishes in a right turn from view.
"Here!" Watson cries out.
The Tall Sailor leans closer to look as Watson stands up, holding a piece of cloth between his scissors. Bloodstone looks at it. "What is it?"
"Nothing she was wearing, I assure you, Inspector." Watson announces triumphantly. "Unless I am mistaken you will find that this is a fine velvet only available from Munich and sold only in one store of Southhampton."
"Drury and Son's." Bloodstone pointed out proudly.
"Exactly." Watson agreed.
Watson deposited the cloth into a new vial, then shook his head.
"All other clues are gone. I'll need to do an autopsy, of course."
"I'll see to it that she is ready for you." Bloodstone retorts. "Like some sleeping time?"
"Don't we all?" Watson declared. "I shall not sleep a moment of peace knowing that some foul animal is on the prowl and I could have foreshortened that time. Anytime!"
The Tall Sailor smiles warmly at Watson's words and then turns away. He nods to his fellow Sailors, who eye him, noting the regality of his strides.
"Who is that one?" Asks a sailor of his friend.
"Never seen him before."
The Tall Sailor vanishes in the rising curls of fog that are swallowing the dock.